Dwayne Johnson, known in the professional wrestling ring as “The Rock,” took to Instagram Thursday to send out a very special and important Christmas message to one young fan.
Johnson posted a video message Thursday afternoon, offering words of encouragement to Tommy Hanley, a 15-year-old Irish fan who is currently battling stage four cancer. The video shows Johnson at the gym, holding the camera at arms length during a break so that he can address the screen and Hanley directly. Johnson thanks the young man for being a fan and reminds him to eat enough and get lots of rest in order to give his body the strength to heal, as seen in the post below.
This one's for my buddy Tommy Hanley. Just found out he's a huge fan, 15yrs old, living in Ireland 🇮🇪 and battling stage 4 cancer. I've never met you, but I already know so much about you and can tell you're an awesome, honorable and strong young man. Make sure you eat up dude and get your rest. Those two things are gonna help you stay strong during this fight. Stay being the coolest kid and always keep in mind how much you inspire all your family and friends – including me. We're all pulling for you Tommy! Stay strong and Merry Christmas to you and your family ~ Uncle Rock aka Dwanta Claus 💪🏾🎅🏾
“The Rock” Passes On His Strength
This isn’t the first time Johnson has inspired a fan. On Easter Sunday 2014, he took to Instagram to recount meeting another young fan, Nick Miller. Miller had flagged the star’s truck down in a gym parking lot so that he could express his gratitude. The fan had also battled cancer – stage three Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – and underwent intensive and exhausting chemotherapy as well as stem cell treatments. He told Johnson that the former wrestler inspired him to keep fighting and stay strong throughout his battle, sharing the good news that he was now in remission. Johnson concluded his post by urging followers to reflect on the fragility of life and be grateful for everything they have. You can see the post in its entirety below.
Cool story to share on Easter.. After my workout I'm drivin' in my pick up and notice these kids in the rearview mirror screamin' & runnin' after my truck. Thought to myself, "Should I stop or keep drivin'?" I stopped. I hop out of my truck and this kid runs up to me, hugs the hell outta me and says it's been his life's dream to meet me and tell me how much I've inspired him to fight cancer (Hodgkin's lymphoma) and hard core chemo and stem cell transplant treatments. He was a little teary eyed and said for months and months all he's wanted to do was find me and say this face to face. I told him what it meant to me to hear this story. I thanked him, hugged him (and his friends), got back in my truck and drove away. As I'm drivin' I start shaking my head (and tearing up) at how fragile life is and how amazing and cool the universe was to make this meeting happen between myself and this special kid Nick Miller. Let's always take a moment to count our blessings.. cause there's always something to be grateful for. Happy Easter y'all – DJ
Johnson is someone who knows how difficult the fight against cancer can be, as his mother Ata was diagnosed with stage three lung cancer in 2008. Johnson stood by her side throughout the ordeal, taking her to her weekly chemotherapy and radiation appointments until she was declared cancer-free in 2010. It was at these appointments that he got yet another chance to provide some comfort and inspiration to a fan, though he wouldn’t know just how much his simple gesture meant until years later when he met the fan’s son Richard Arias. Arias explained that Johnson had met his father at the same cancer center he took his mother to in 2008, and Johnson held the door for them and shook his father’s hand, telling him to be strong. Arias recalled his father feeling no pain that day and expressing a happiness they hadn’t seen in a long time. Sadly, Arias’ father passed away later that year, but he thanked Johnson for helping to provide his father with that peace, even if it was just for one day.
Dwayne Johnson is a man who truly cares about his fans, and the uplifting messages and stories he shares will surely serve as inspiration for fans worldwide to stay grateful and strong no matter their situation.
Serico, C., “Son of cancer patient thanks Dwayne Johnson for touching gesture years later,” Today web site, May 1, 2016; http://www.today.com/popculture/son-cancer-patient-thanks-dwayne-johnson-touching-gesture-years-later-t77061, last accessed December 16, 2016.